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Tabusoro retains Vodafone Tri Nations 15s crown

Monday 29 August 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Tabusoro retains Vodafone Tri Nations 15s crown
Tabusoro prepares to take off in their successful defence of the Vodafone Tri nations title on Saturday. 22082802

In a hard-fought final match, Tabusoro (Fiji) were able to repel a late Tokouso (Samoa/Tonga) assault on their try line, with the final score of Tabusoro 15, Tokouso 9.

The stop-start rugby union match which Tokouso led at halftime by 9 - 5, was played on Saturday at Victoria Park, Tupapa, with a good crowd in attendance.

The best players for Tokouso were first 5/8 Viiga Ruepena, hooker Lua Tua Trood, number 8 Leki Vaheahoou, and midfielder Afereti Anau.

Tabusoro’s best players were utility back Nathan Nabou, hooker Clark Ngaau, fullback Tevita Niusama, and midfielder Lae Logologoivalu.

Tabusoro’s 15 points came from tries by Nathan Nabou and Tomasi Bikaka, conversions by Savenaca Buresova, and a penalty by Tevita Niusama. Tokouso’s 9 points were from three penalties by Viiga Ruepena.

At the post-match presentations the Vodafone Most Valuable Player awards were presented by Vodafone Cook Islands country head Phil Henderson to two players for each of the three teams: Cook Islands Residents - James Kora and Robert Heather, Tabusoro - Nathan Nabou and Clark Ngaau, and Tokouso - Viiga Ruepena and Lua Tua Trood.

Tabusoro Fiji skipper Josh Koroi and Tokouso’s Feleti Iona both humbly thanked Vodafone Cook Islands for their support, the Rugby Union and their respective players and supporters.

The Cook Islands Rugby Union Tri-Nations concept is the next step above club-level, called regional level-rugby, which sees three residential community teams the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa/Tonga – play a round-robin series of matches against each.

Tokouso took an early lead in the series beating Cook Islands Residents 24-22 just over a fortnight ago. Tabusoro thumped the Residents 44-23 last week.

Tokouso won the inaugural series in 2020 before Tabusoro Fiji claimed the title last year and retained the trophy this year.

Earlier that afternoon the Under 9s & Under 11s the Tupapa Panthers, Takuvaine Reds & Arorangi Bears kick started the event with some exciting Rippa Rugby matches played and enjoyed by the young ones who showcased their skills.

Ben Koteka, the Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager acknowledged the parents, grandparents, families and supporters who turned out to watch the “beautiful children” play.

On behalf of the Rugby Union, Koteka also extended his appreciation to the Tupapa and Avatiu rugby clubs for hosting the 2022 Tri Nations 15s matches, the teams Cook Islands Residents, Tabusoro and Tokouso, coaches and management, referees and administration, Vodafone the major sponsor, the media team, and volunteers.

“Thank you also to all the spectators for their support for an event that unifies our community, Meitaki Ma’ata and God bless always,” Koteka said.

Continuing the good spirit and unification that sport brings, the Cook Islands Residents hosted Tabusoro and Tokouso to a kaikai at the Tupapa Centre. Rugby Union now looks forward to the next rugby events, the Cook Islands Games - multi sports event that will be held from October 1-15 this year.